Posted by Frank Wooldridge
It was just last week that Pat Thompson was unanimously chosen to be our Breakfast Rotary president in 2023-2024 and he is already giving out email “orders” to encourage all members including the Zoomers to “Get Back to the Meeting” to enjoy the togetherness we only appreciate being with each other. Considering Pat’s request, I and a number of others celebrated the June 15th re-opening by coming to President David Spalinger’s wood shop to go live in-person. The morning’s meeting was President Dave’s, as he would say, “last full meeting”. He was right, it was a meeting we will not soon forget, full of thrills, some spills, and a freaky weird costume that I am still having nightmares about. To settle the unrest that was about to come, Past President Mike O’Doherty led us in the invocation, then Dave Perkins followed with America’s Flag Salute.
Back to Mike. As I was writing The Beacon Thursday, O’Doherty must know somehow that I was working on exactly the piece which includes him leading our invocation. He sent me a timely email with his thoughts of unity, I suggest we express thankfulness to Mike for his submission and words of “Oneness”. A review of the quote he read would be in order.
“It is good to recognize how different we are. Our talents, our dreams, our backgrounds, our occupations. And it is good to know that when You created each of us, You broke the mold. No one is exactly like anyone else. Even our thumbprint and our voice track tell us how unique we are. Yet, we thank you that we can take these differences and mobilize them for the good of Rotary and our community. In our differences we can think the same thoughts and move together toward a common goal. Bless us as we meet together. Thank you for our individuality and also for our common bond of Rotary. Amen.”
Past President Carol Smith assumed the role of Songstress and marched up to the front of the membership to proudly lead us in God Bless America. I’ll tell ya, that Carol can carry a note. She really exudes the pride of having freedoms and opportunities in America through song. Thanks, Carol, for your inspiration!
**Featured Program**
Pete Leveroni is back in the saddle in his role of introducing the finest Rotary presentations on the West Coast. It was our honor to have as guest Jessica Matthews of The League of Dreams. As Executive Director of the League of Dreams Jessica is certainly in a League of her own you might say. The League of Dreams is an adaptive sports league for children with disabilities ages 5 through 22 where everyone hits a home run, where all kids shoot and swish a basketball goal and with tomorrow comes yet another ball game. Jessica is a member of Junior League of Bakersfield and is pursuing certification as a non-profit fund-raising specialist. Jessica is no stranger to the value of dedicating oneself to service for others.
The League started with Tim Terrio of Terrio Physical Therapy. He envisioned children from various skill levels being given an opportunity to live out their dreams of becoming a super sports star. Jessica shared a video that featured the energized children - some running, some walking, some pushed by “angels” in a wheelchair or “wheel chariots” as I would call them, accomplishing athletic achievement to the joy of family and friends. My take on the video was that even though the athletes featured in the video obviously were having a great time, I’m pretty sure the volunteers were equally enjoying their fun in the sun too. The positive comments about the benefits of the League from their volunteers, who are referred to as “angels”, made it perfectly clear that living life has more to do with what you give than what material you possess.
Jessica told us that there is even a “try-out” process. The try-out consists of supporting athletes in learning what skills they are functionally able to comfortably perform. She said based upon their performance, athletes are placed into sports that they can perform safely. The program, Jessica tells us, began with participation in just softball and basketball. With the expansion in popularity of The League, the nearly 700 local participant athletes, who are referred through various local services for the young handicapped and word of mouth, now have other sports they can participate like bowling, fencing, gymnastics and virtual karate. Ah Kung Fu!
Volunteers are crucial to the athletes making dreams for these children come true. Often recruited from local Rotary Interact Clubs, Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield, volunteers become very passionate about the success of each athlete. There is never quitting or giving up in this League, and there are no losers.
Like all non-profit organizations, their sustenance comes through the loving donations, gifts, and grants bestowed upon The League. Wine, Women, and Shoes is a local fundraiser which I am sure many of our membership have heard of before. This event is the chief fundraiser for The League of Dreams and will be held in-person October 23rd so mark your calendars everyone. 
I visited the League of Dreams website and found it full of fantastic energy just like the program’s participants. To learn more, I encourage you to visit at . Thank you Jessica for visiting with us today to share just one more program that demonstrates opportunity for giving LOVE in Bakersfield. 
**The Fun Part**
When The Prez tells us, we have approached The Fun Part of the Rotary meeting, I don’t think that means it will be fun for us, well maybe some of us… President Dave asked Past President Cheryl Scott and Mindy Wilmot to stand. Well Mindy was conveniently absent from the meeting and ZOOM, so Cheryl was on her own. It seems that a recent article in The Bakersfield Californian caught the eye of The Prez. Cheryl and Mindy wrote the article. Wait, okay, here she comes again from her table racing to the front of the room for another opportunity at the podium, Cheryl approached the podium to explain the purpose of the Community Voices article.
Cheryl shared with us that she and Mindy were involved with Bakersfield College’s Peace Initiative. Part of the initiative She told us the project is all about Peacebuilding partnership between Rotary and the college. A webinar scheduled Tuesday June 22nd from 4-5 pm, hosted by the college will share how BC and local Rotary clubs are partnering to raise the peace conversation to a new level locally. This third seminar in Bakersfield College's Peace Seminar Series focuses on how individuals can join together with like-minded neighbors on projects that contribute to a peaceful community and world. She said she, BC President Sonya Christian, Mike Henstra (former BBRCer and current member of Rotary E-Club of One World District 5240), and Bakersfield East Rotarian Fernando Aguirre will participate. Please register for the Webinar at the link:
Cheryl said there will be a 15-minute video by Reem Ghunaim executive director of Rotary Action Group for Peace which she recommends us to view before tuning into the Webinar. Here is the link:
Cheryl and Mindy would enjoy all of us to read the newspaper article The Prez saw with them featured! Here is the link for the article:
Sounds to me like Rotarians hard at work doing what they are meant to do. I think our Prez agrees. Awesome stuff Cheryl and Mindy!  
If that was not enough Peace and Love, The Prez was going to make sure we all got into Cheryl and Mindy’s message by attempting to have a “Love In” at our meeting. President Dave created the perfect visual from changing on stage from his business attire to a 70s Hippie, ready for Peace. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a lot of Peace in this world and I think spreading Rotary is just how we will do it. Our Hippie President will see to that! Rotary Clue for next week is which hippie, or hippies did Frank Wooldridge think The Prez most resembled?
They might as well create a whole section in The Californian for Breakfast Rotary and all are doins’ cause we are makin’ news. Even Connie Bensusen and her husband Al were featured in the paper a couple weeks ago according to President Dave. Connie reported to The Prez that the article primarily about Al and was a piece that described her husband as is a man who has worn a lot of hats. Talk about a ventured life, Connie says her Al, known for his witty demeanor, has worked in a number of occupations and interests recently retiring from his business, “The Sandman”, for sleep disorders. Connie said it has been a joyous ride during their years of marriage, and for us it is just a pleasure having both Connie and Al as friends. I read the article and encourage others to do so, as the article was uplifting and inspirational just as Al has been to so many with whom he has developed relationships.
Dear Past President Jackie “Queen” Maxwell stunned one and all announcing on social media that she is “now” in a relationship. That’s nice but what is different about your relationship now compared to 4 years ago? Nothing. Jackie had to explain to The Prez’s curiosity why she is making the announcement. She sheepishly said when adjusting her profile on Facebook, she noticed that her status as SINGLE, did not fit her jet-setting lifestyle with Tom. So in the course of changing her status from single to…I dunno, Taken?...Facebook automatically posted a change in her relationship status. Well, I’m glad Jackie cleared that up for The Prez. I know we all lost sleep over it.
**Announcements Announcements**
Celebrating Rotary anniversaries was Jacqueline Alexander 3 years. Congratulations Rotary sister!
As President Dave prepared the membership for The Beacon Clue, I could only think of all of the antics our president has engaged in during his tenure. Dealing with COVID restrictions and interruptions, this president has done a stellar job. Keeping us uplifted and he has been unflappable. Add the goofy costumes he could produce and put on in any single moment, the fines and his mercy…Yes, mercy. President Dave has been very merciful to many of us so that we would not have to pay BIG fines. But NOT today! President Dave seems to be making a point in finishing strong in the course of raising money for the coffers if members don’t read The Beacon. I could not agree with him more. The Chosen were Jason Williamson, Dan Johnson, Marlene Heise, and 2022-2023 President-elect Karen Bonanno who all became The Frozen. Each of them choked not knowing the answer to The Beacon Clue which cost them all $10 apiece. Enter Will Duerksen who broke the ice by stating the correct answer, with no help from the audience I might add. The question being; Which American University is a partner with last weeks presentation Global Family Network, and answer, Calif. State University Bakersfield.
Just when things seemed to settle down after The Prez’s Cheech and Chong resemblance Teresa Ramos-Alvarez stood up to make The Prez aware of an error in last week’s Beacon and that yours truly had mistakenly wrote that she was the winner of last week’s 50-50 drawing. That’s okay as I am good with constructive criticism. But when she said that I should be fined for that, it got under The Prez’s Bell-Bottom britches. Knowing the toil of The Beacon writer he leveled a fine back to Teresa amounting to ½ of the amount of last week’s drawing. As the issue was driven by another Ramos advocate, additional fines were levied as well as a not often seen directive to Teresa to assume the role of Beacon writer next week. Yikes, as the sayin’ goes…Don’t Mess with the Press.
As a reminder, as if you need one, wear Hawaiian attire to Lino’s Venue 1931 H Street June 25th at 6pm for The Prez’s Demotion! It will be one not to miss folks. Make your reservations with Jackie (661) 619-5621, or
If you don’t get enough Hawaiian Punch from the night before, Saturday morning at 7am we are holding our scheduled Pancake breakfast at East Baker and East California Ave. Hey, here’s an idea just spend the night at Lino’s then come to have breakfast at Dignity Health.
**Happy $pots**
Will Duerksen announced that he is the proud grand papa of Andrew Scott McBride. Will will be traveling to Boise to spend time with his family there and the little slugger!
Dr. Tom Burke proudly displayed a photo of his son who recently graduated from UC Davis. Congrats!
Marlene Heise had a towel with her that I actually thought was a crying towel for all the fines she had to pay, but we all learned it was a golf towel with the Green Bay Packers insignia. Apparently, The Prez’s son’s favorite football team.
If it is not deplorable enough to see our president reduced to a hippie, Past President Ron “Buford” Nelms recently back from a Colorado trip returned to present to The Prez and coffee cup and camouflage “Buck Naked” boxer shorts, or did Ron think they were classy gym shorts. Whatever, at this point of the meeting anything goes. Hope they were washed.
Incoming President Jeff Haynes is a man of Law and Order I can tell right now. Last Saturday he welcomed new board members to an orientation at his home. Many came, some were absent. Some had excuses, others absolutely no excuse at all. Our very own Prez enjoyed the cool brisk waters of the Central Coast during last weeks orientation. If The Prez just would have arranged to ZOOM Jeff’s orientation he could have saved himself $39, the price of a crab dinner at Brad’s Restaurant. Mike O’Doherty was a no-show too. That will cost him as he no doubt was on a golf outing last Saturday.
Carol Smith was very moved with The League of Dreams presentation that she wished to honor her grandson Austin by contributing $10 to our club. Very noble gesture.
Michele McClure like the rest of us is not happy to see our dear Marilee Reagor moving to Spokane, Washington. Marilee has been a strong leader in our club for 10 years and will be missed greatly. Michele contributed $25 in tribute to our friend Marilee.
Our raffle winner of cold hard cash was Leslie VoVilla. Yes, I’m sure about that. Our non-mask winner was Mary Jo Pasek, and a bottle of wine for you sweet lady.  
In Rotary,
Frank Wooldridge
Beacon Writer